Bill Weinberg's blog

Narco-fascism in the Philippines?

Posted on October 3rd, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , .

South East AsiaThe Philippines' new ultra-hardline President Rodrigo Duterte took things to a new level last week. He had previously compared himself to genocidal Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in pledging to unleash a reign of terror on drug users and dealers. But on Sept. 30, he actually invoked Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust as a favorable model for what he intends to do in his own country. "Hitler massacred three million Jews," Duterte told reporters. "Now, there are three million drug addicts. I'd be happy to slaughter them." He said thusly purging the Philippines would "save the next generation from perdition." (Reuters, Oct. 1; PhilStar, Sept. 30)

Cannabis emerges as factor in Charlotte case

Posted on September 26th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

BlackLivesMatterThe police slaying of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, NC, on  Sept. 20 set off days of angry protests and riots, ultimately resulting in a midnight curfew and mobilization of the National Guard to the city's streets. Protests stayed peaceful the night of Sept. 24, although a group of clergy and demonstrators defied the curfew to hold a prayer vigil outside the Charrlotte-Mecklenburg police headquarters, ABC reported. The curfew was finally lifted the next night, but the city remains tense. Police have just released body and dahsboard video footage of the fatal incident.

Philippines: more Duterte death-squad links revealed

Posted on September 22nd, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , .

South East AsiaPresident Rodrigo Duterte's ultra-hardline anti-drug policies took center-stage in the Philippines last week as the country's Senate held televised hearings on the matter. By now, the National Police force has acknowledged that its troops have killed 1,506 suspected drug dealers or users since Duterte took office in June. (Amnesty International, adding those killed by unaccountable "vigilantes," puts the figure at 3,000.) Duterte openly boasts that the killings will continue. The hearings heard impassioned testimony both for and against this lawless crackdown.

Cops to get 'potalyzers' for roadside marijuana tests

Posted on September 12th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

Shadow WatchResearchers at Stanford University have developed a "potalyzer"—a device that can detect human THC levels, so cops can determine if a motorist is too impaired to drive. The hand-held device uses sophisticated bio-sensors to detect THC molecules in saliva. Police officers will supposedly be able collect a spit sample with a cotton swab and read the results on a smartphone or laptop in just three minutes.

DEA declares war on kratom

Posted on September 9th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

kratomLast month, when the DEA dashed activist hopes for a rescheduling of cannabis, it also issued another lesser-noted decision—to put the psychoactive herb kratom in the same Schedule I classification as pot, that for the most dangerous drugs with no medical use. Advocates have launched a White House petition against the kratom ban, and have already won the required 100,000 signatures to trigger an administration reponse. The DEA decision takes effect on Sept. 30, while the White House has 60 days to respond to the petition, under its own policy.

North Dakota to get armed police drones

Posted on September 9th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

Shadow WatchNational Public Radio's The Two-Way blog reports that North Dakota police forces are about to get the nation's first weaponized drones, following passage of a bill allowing them earlier this year. Ironically, this is coming about in spite of the legislation's main sponsor, Republican state Rep. Rick Becker. While the law limits the type of weapons permitted to those in the "less than lethal" category—tear-gas, rubber bullets, beanbags, pepper spray and Tasers—the original bill would have entirely barred weapons from police drones. According to The Daily Beast, Becker told a hearing in March: "In my opinion there should be a nice, red line: Drones should not be weaponized. Period."

Brooklyn community garden closed for illegal flowers

Posted on September 7th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

New York CityThe irrational and oppressive nature of cannabis prohibition is vividly illustrated by an Aug. 24 New York Times story about Green Gem community garden, on city-owned land in Brooklyn's East New York neighborhood, which was ordered closed in May after inspectors from the Parks Department discovered a few marijuana seedlings growing in coffee cups. Lead gardener James McCrae said the illicit plants were the work of a rogue gardener who was no longer involved. The Green Gem was just now allowed to re-open under an agreement worked out with the parks department's Green Thumb program. But the community was deprived of the garden throughout the summer, and a harvest was lost.

Philippines: anti-narco dictatorship consolidating?

Posted on September 5th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , .

South East AsiaRodrigo Duterte, the ultra-hardline president of the Philippines, ominously declared a "state of lawlessness" after a Sept. 2 bomb blast at a night market in the southern city of Davao, where he had long served as mayor. The special powers he is seizing are ill-defined, but he said he would "invite uniformed personnel to run the country." In justifying the power-grab, he stated: “There is a crisis in this country involving drugs, extrajudicial killings, and there seems to be an environment of lawlessness, lawless violence." There's an especially perverse irony to the invocation of extrajudicial killings, as his own government is accued of exactly that.

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